C. Thomas Lafollette is a student of history and a world traveler. He's dined with a Prime Minister, read poetry with Yevgeny Yevtushenko, and drank beer with monks. He's the author of the action-adventure urban fantasy series Luke Irontree & The Last Vampire War and the forthcoming Red City Reaper series. Besides reading and writing, he loves a good action movie, be it a Hollywood blockbuster or a classic Samurai flick, as well as the occasional rom-com. He lives in Portland with his partner – the devastatingly talented author Amy Cissell – his stepdaughter, and their two jerkface cats.

Dark Fangs Rising by C. Thomas Lafollette

Killing vampires is Luke Irontree's business, and business is good.

Too good…

After nearly 2,000 years, the immortal vampire hunter is exhausted. Alone in a world where everyone he knew and loved is dead, he struggles on because it's all he knows. But when a wave of vampire attacks brings a dark pall over Portland, Luke is the only one who can stop them.

The problem is, he let things go too long. Now he's outnumbered, and the tables have turned – the hunter has become the hunted. After falling into a trap, Luke is rescued by a werewolf and a tough female vampire hunter who want to join forces. However, Luke is too afraid of losing more friends.

Luke might not have a choice if he wants to protect his home and survive to tell the tale. Allies are a dangerous risk – both for himself and for them. Vampire hunting has always been a deadly business. But with the gutters running red with blood, Luke must make the impossible choices or die trying…


Dark Fangs Rising is a high-stake urban fantasy with an immortal vampire hunter. This is the start of a fantastic male-lead series that will put you on the edge of your seat. – Arizona Tape



  • "Excellent read! A fandango-tasting mix of Vampires, Romans, fighting, adventure!!!"

    – 5 star Apple review
  • "What a wonderfully imaginative, marvelous fantasy by Mr. Lafollette!"

    – 4.5 star – InD’Tale Magazine
  • "The story starts off quietly, calmly even sedately, but as the reader falls under the spell of the writer the narration begins to take off and the reader is enthralled. The writing is mystical, the settings become part of the reader's world and the characters literally breathe with life."

    – 5 star Amazon



"Well, buddy." Luke bent down to scratch Alfred between his ears. "I'm going out for dinner, so you're on your own tonight."

Luke slung his backpack over his shoulder and pulled the door open before turning and looking back at the orange tabby cat as he proceeded to ignore Luke by grooming his paw. "No wild parties while I'm gone."

Howling Moon Brewing had moved into an old brick building on North Lombard Avenue just over a year ago. Since then, it'd become Luke's regular watering hole. The menu was superb, the beers some of the best he'd found since leaving Europe behind. Best of all, the atmosphere was usually exactly what he liked—dark and warm. The high back booths provided intimacy ideal for a date night, or if you preferred, you could sit at the bar and chat with the owner or one of the bartenders. Best of all, it was a short walk from his home. The staff knew by now that he was best left alone after he placed his drink order, except for the rare times he engaged with them on his own.

"Hey, Pablo. How's it going tonight?"

Pablo idly took out clean glasses from the dishwasher and stacked them on the shelves, periodically sweeping an eye around the bar to check if the few guests needed anything. "Not bad. We've had better nights, but I can't complain."

Pablo stood about five foot six and had the brown complexion of Latin America that marked him as having Indigenous and European heritage. His black hair was coiffed into a hip modern cut, the sides shaved and the top left long. He wore black jeans and a black tee featuring the brewery's logo of a wolf's head howling at a full moon. Tattoos covered his muscular arms.

Luke finished his beer and held up the empty. "Another, please. Just seems a bit quiet tonight."

Pablo brought Luke's beer and set it down in front of him. "Yeah, a bit. It's been that way a lot lately. Maybe all the crime on the news is keeping people home." He shrugged. "Hard to tell. We haven't been open that long. Hey, did you hear about the weird shit they found by the Portlandia statue this morning?"

"I must have missed that story," Luke replied.

"They found a full outfit oozing some black goop. And get this, someone had cut the arms off the leather jacket. Weird, man."

Luke chuckled nervously. "That does sound weird. Anything new on tap I should know about?"

"Yeah! I've got a Belgian-style wit I've been experimenting with. I think I got it dialed in."

"I'll take one of those. Wits are one of my favorites." He hadn't had a proper one since his recent trip to Belgium. He'd always been fond of the style since its invention centuries earlier.

"Really? Not IPA? Seems that's all anyone orders these days." Pablo grabbed a glass and poured a hazy blond beer with a thick, frothy head. "Let me know what you think."

Luke pulled out his usual chair at the bar, hung his backpack on the hook underneath, and grabbed his beer. "Nice aroma. Good balance between citrus, coriander, and grainy notes." He took a sip.

"Excellent nose," Pablo said.

"I like the flavor. Let me finish this glass, and I'll give you a full report."

"Good man. You can't really judge a beer from one sip. I'll be back." Pablo wandered off to check on the few other customers.

Luke's dinner and a third beer showed up about the same time three guys walked in. Popped-collar polos under jackets and jeans with bedazzled rear pockets would have marked them as young bros who could be mistaken for University of Portland students, if not for Luke's ability to tell the living from the no longer alive. He'd have to keep an eye on them.

Luke couldn't even enjoy the flavor of his food, shoveling it down while trying to inconspicuously stare at the undead jackasses flirting, buying beer, and glamouring their targets. The bros chatted up a trio of women and then joined them in their booth. The mirrored back bar afforded Luke a decent view. He had to take care to mix in a couple glasses of water. Luke had only wanted a quiet night down at the local pub; how had their numbers grown so unchecked?

As the evening progressed, the crowd began to grow thin. The vampires gave it a few minutes after every other booth had cleared before ushering the three women out the door—opting to take their meals to go. Luke made eye contact with Pablo, set some cash on the bar, grabbed his backpack, and followed. The door open and closed again as he stepped into the damp evening. Pablo followed, yet Luke had no way of knowing if he had help or not.

* * *

The three bros and the women they'd glamoured walked toward the alley behind the bar. Pablo laid a hand on Luke's shoulder and stepped in front, putting his body between the bros and his regular customer. Luke couldn't see any marks on his neck, but that didn't mean he didn't have them somewhere else.

"Step away from the ladies, gentlemen. Doesn't seem like they're interested in what you're offering," Pablo said.

Bystander, then. Luke unzipped his backpack and slowly drew the gladius and rudis from their custom sheaths. "Pablo, back up a bit, please. I appreciate your effort, but you don't want to tangle with this lot."

Pablo kept his eyes on the trio. "I'm OK, Luke. I can handle myself. No one comes into my pub and assaults people in my alley."

"I'm not saying you can't. I'm just saying you should trust me about these guys. They might be a bit more than you're expecting…"

The three bros reluctantly set aside their prey and turned toward them. The one in the lead said, "If you two don't want a rough evening, I suggest you keep walking."

"I think you're the ones messing with more than you can handle here. Leave the innocents alone and get the fuck out of here. Otherwise, things might get a touch…splattery," Luke said.

The three vampires chuckled. "I guess our dinner just got tastier." The lead guy focused, making eye contact with Luke and Pablo in an attempt to glamour them.

"Look, 'bros.' Just get the fuck out of here before you regret your choices," Pablo threatened.

Glamours couldn't affect Luke, but Pablo was a surprise.

"You get the fuck out of here before we rip you a new asshole and then shove your fucking brown head up it," the lead vamp said.

"Of course, they have to be racists, too. I guess they're not going to move along. I'm not sure you need the hardware, Luke." Pablo rolled his shoulders, loosening up his muscles.

"For these three, yeah, I think I'll keep them out." Luke twirled the gladius once.

Despite the distraction provided by Pablo and Luke, the three women hadn't moved from their positions, propped against the alley wall.

"Hey, girls! Run!" Pablo shouted.

The women didn't answer, didn't move an inch. The three vamps got progressively meaner as their fangs descended in murderous smiles. Razor-sharp claws joined them for the party.

Luke stepped in front of Pablo, eyes on their opponents. "OK, Pablo. Stay behind me. Try to avoid their claws and fangs, and don't let them get you pinned down. They're faster than your normal run of the mill beered up bros and a lot stronger."

Luke stalked forward, keeping himself between Pablo and the creeping vampires. The vamps opened space between the three of them, hoping to outflank Luke and attack from multiple sides. He spared a thought for his armor, secured on its rack in his basement. He usually didn't need it for trips to the pub.

Luke feinted left and low with his rudis, then whirled right with the gladius and lopped off the vampire's head with a backhanded swing. Keeping his weapons up, he peeked over his shoulder to check on Pablo. The bartender had peeled his shirt off and was sprouting prodigious volumes of body hair and a lupine snout.

What the hell had Luke gotten himself into?

Stepping over the decapitated vamp, Luke maneuvered to put the girls at his back. Effectively trapping the vampires between him and what was quickly becoming a very large werewolf in bipedal form. He hoped Pablo would keep his cool and not go berserk on him or the victims. He'd hate to have to hurt him; the man brewed good beer.

The two remaining vampires—confidence dissolving from their faces, their eyes flicking about for escape routes—at last realized that neither of the men were going to be the pushovers they'd initially assumed. The lead vampire eyed the sword-wielding hunter and the hulking werewolf, then settled his gaze on Luke.

"You're the one who's been killing our brethren. You're 'The Hunter.' You'll pay for this." His casual dude-bro dialect dropped away, replaced by an antiquated, upper crust English accent. He looked at his partner. "Break free and report what's happened here. Bring reinforcements if you can."

Things were about to get interesting. If this vamp was as old as his accent indicated, he'd be much more powerful than the newly whelped bloodsuckers Luke'd been dispatching with ease lately. It'd been several months since he'd encountered anything this old. Luke's eyes narrowed, and he backed off a bit, switching to a defensive stance. He needed to protect those he could and keep the vamps from scampering off.

Pablo had finished his transformation and was stalking toward the vampires while ensuring he cut off their escape route. The British vampire pulled a long double-edge dagger from under the back of his shirt. As he slid into a fighter's stance, it became clear he knew how to handle himself and his blade. His young companion, however, was a lot less cocksure. The younger vampire's eyes darted around nervously, looking for an exit.

Luke narrowed his eyes, planning his next move. "Pablo, keep the little guy from getting away."

Pablo grunted and growled as Luke slashed his gladius toward the Brit's head. He met Luke's sword with his dagger and the two blades slid together, down to their hilt guards. The fanger took a swipe at Luke's midsection with his claws. Luke slapped it aside with the flat of his rudis. The vampire yanked his hand back with a yelp as it burned his hand. He disengaged and leapt back, keeping a wary eye on Luke's next move. Blisters rose where the silver had burned him; they would not heal easily.

The vampire crouched and then launched himself at Luke with a feral grin. But there was no attack; instead, he leapt high into the air over Luke's head. Landing on his hands, the vamp rolled onto his back and sprang up again. Luke sliced his gladius low, cutting deep into the back of the fanger's legs, and severed his hamstrings.

The vamp dropped like he'd been shot in the head. "You bloody bastard!"

Out of the corner of his eye, Luke caught Pablo and the last vampire squaring off. Pablo had no problem keeping the other vamp occupied; of course, not much could trouble a werewolf in their bipedal form. Luke's vampire was trying to scuttle away from him and toward the dropped dagger. Luke kicked it out of reach.

The sound of snapping bones and tearing flesh made Luke cringe. He ducked as something flew past and smashed into the face of the British vampire. Pablo had thrown the other vampire's head.

"It appears this night didn't go the way you wanted it to." Luke surged forward and lopped off the distracted vampire's head. He flopped backward, his black sludge-like blood leaking into the alley. "Pablo, you better shift back and get these women out of here. The glamour they're under is about to wear off."

"I'm on it," Pablo said from behind Luke.

Luke wiped his gladius on the vamp's shirt and sheathed it in his custom backpack. He knelt over the headless body and plunged the rudis into its heart. Forehead resting on the pommel, he whispered the incantation that set the rudis glowing. Instead of dissolving into goo like the vamp from last night, the old Brit turned to dust, scattering down the alley on the breeze. Luke snagged the wallet out of the vampire's pocket just in case it held anything useful. He repeated the process until only piles of goo from the other two vamps remained. When he was done, Pablo was leaning against the entrance to the alley with his arms crossed.

"Let's step inside for a beer and a chat."

Luke nodded and followed him in.